Typhoon Ramon threatens Cagayan as Tropical Depression Sarah maintains strength

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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Ramon (Kalmaegi) remains a threat to the northern Cagayan-Babuyan Group of Islands area, while Tropical Depression Sarah maintained its strength late Tuesday evening, November 19.

In a briefing past 11 pm on Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ramon is now 100 kilometers east northeast of Aparri, Cagayan, or 45 kilometers northeast of Santa Ana, Cagayan.

The typhoon is moving southwest – albeit slowly – after being almost stationary for most of Tuesday.

It continues to have maximum winds of 120 kilometers per hour (km/h), but its gustiness decreased from 165 km/h to 150 km/h.

Ramon is now expected to make landfall in the Santa Ana-Calayan area in the northern part of Cagayan between Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning, November 20.

"Significant weakening is expected during and after landfall due to land interaction and the northeast monsoon," added PAGASA.

This is the latest list of areas under tropical cyclone wind signals due to Ramon:

Signal No. 3 (winds of 121 km/h to 170 km/h)

Signal No. 2 (winds of 61 km/h to 120 km/h)

Signal No. 1 (winds of 30 km/h to 60 km/h)

Ramon will also continue to trigger rain on Wednesday. Here is the rainfall outlook:

Wednesday, November 20

Thousands of residents have fled their homes ahead of Ramon's landfall.

PAGASA again advised residents to remain on alert in case there are flash floods and landslides. According to the state weather bureau, flooding may be experienced in coastal areas under Signal Nos. 2 and 3 due to high waves. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Travel remains risky too, especially for small vessels, in the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone wind signals, the seaboard of the southern part of Isabela, as well as the western seaboard of Zambales and Bataan.

Classes have been suspended in some areas for Wednesday. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Wednesday, November 20, 2019)

Ramon could leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Thursday, November 21. By then, it would have likely weakened into a low pressure area.

Ramon is the Philippines' 18th tropical cyclone for 2019, and the 2nd for November.

Forecast track of Typhoon Ramon (Kalmaegi) as of November 19, 2019, 11 pm. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Typhoon Ramon (Kalmaegi) as of November 19, 2019, 11 pm.

Image from PAGASA

Meanwhile, Sarah is now 570 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes, still moving northwest at a relatively fast 35 km/h.

The tropical depression continues to have maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 70 km/h. But it could intensify into a tropical storm within 12 hours.

There are no tropical cyclone wind signals due to Sarah, so far. But like Ramon, it will bring rain to parts of Northern Luzon.

Wednesday afternoon, November 20

Thursday, November 21

Sarah could also make landfall in Cagayan on Thursday.

If it maintains its speed and direction, it might leave PAR on Friday, November 22.

Sarah is the Philippines' 19th tropical cyclone for 2019, and the 3rd for November.

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Sarah as of November 19, 2019, 11 pm. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Sarah as of November 19, 2019, 11 pm.

Image from PAGASA

The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually, but since 2019 is an El Niño year, only 14 to 18 tropical cyclones had been projected. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

With Sarah's arrival, the estimate has been exceeded for the year and also for the month of November.

These had been the projections for the last two months of 2019:

PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 14. – Rappler.com